My Canadian adventures continued from Toronto to Montreal. The drive was very scenic and more metropolitan compared to the rural landscape between Windsor and Toronto. I did all of my research about “Things to do in Montreal” and “Best area to stay in Montreal” during the drive.
I tried Airbnb and the listings were not as nice as what Toronto offered. I played it safe and booked two nights at the 5-star, Hotel Le Crystal.
Mary Queen of the World Cathedral
This was my first outing in Montreal. The majesty of this church was nice for prayer and reflection. The architecture stands out in the downtown location of modern buildings.
Montreal’s Most Iconic Dishes
Every where you go in Montreal, there are restaurants selling poutine. Poutine is french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. It does not sound appealing, but the flavors blend nicely.
If your diet allows, do not leave Montreal with out eating a smoked meat sandwich. When I walked out of Rueben’s Deli and Steakhouse, the manager said, “See you tomorrow.” He was right. What made the dining experience even more unique was having a hilarious waiter from Louisville, KY. It’s a small world and a reminder that I was in the right place, doing the right thing. I don’t take coincidences lightly.
Another must-try food in Montreal are the bagels. I worked in a bagel store in high school, so I know what a good bagel tastes like. Fresh out of the oven with cream cheese is the way to go.
It is a good thing that I did a lot of walking. I do not want to look at a french fry for the rest of the summer.
Scooter Tour of Montreal
After planning every step in Toronto, I thought it would be nice to go on a guided tour of Montreal. A bicycle tour was suggested, but I do enough of that at home. Dyad Scooters would lead the way for 4 hours in the city.
As we rolled through traffic towards Mount Royal, I noticed similarities to Toronto in terms of city murals.
We stopped at the bottom of Mount Royal for an explanation of how buildings in Montreal are not permitted to be built higher than this landmark.
We rode down Avenue Maplewood where luxury homes lined the streets.
Once we crossed the Mount Royal Cemetery, we went to the Mount Royal park, designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted. Olmsted was a blessing to North America with his landscape designs.
We had to be careful going down the steep mountain. We stopped for a view of the Olympic Stadium where Caitlin Jenner who, as Bruce Jenner won the gold medal in the 1976 Men’s Decathlon.
Montreal is a bike friendly city with purposely marked lanes. Our tour went into a laid back area of The Mile End. There are a diverse number of ethnic divisions of Jewish people in Montreal, with the Hasidic families being the most noticeable.
Our last stop was at the Jean- Talon Market. I was not shy about sampling the fresh produce. A bag of cherries would be my snack for the day.
Montreal Jazz Festival
The Jazz Festival was getting ready to start just a few blocks from the Dyad Scooter store. There were at least eight different stages, plus stand alone performers. I was surprised to a lot of interactive music activities for children.
Montreal’s Chinatown was better than Toronto’s. I didn’t sample any food, just sightseeing. A very sweet woman gave me a pamphlet about Falun Gong.
In addition the the Montreal Jazz festival, there was a Cirque Festival going on too. After a long day, I was not feeling the outside events and I can catch an indoor Cirque show in any city.
I was pressed for time so I caught the Metro from downtown to Old Montreal.
One of the best experiences in my life was attending the Aura show at the Notre-Dame Basilica. Photography was strictly prohibited during the 20 minute luminous show that told stories using lights and angelic music. This is a must do activity in Montreal, for sure!
Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.Anita Desai